There is more life in the beef trade this week, as reports indicate supplies of finished cattle are starting to tighten.
While there has not been any significant price lift, there are farmers reporting that they there is an additional 2p/kg on offer for in-spec animals compared with previous weeks.
Local factories have finalised their Christmas kill, but demand for beef remains strong and cattle agents are still keen to source livestock for the month ahead.
Once again, there is no movement on base quotes. At the top end of the quote range, 394p/kg is on offer for U-3 grading animals.
Heifers are a much easier sell and factory agents are more flexible on price
However, most farmers report that processors continue to open on 400p/kg.
Prime steers are moving from 402p to 404p/kg, with 406p/kg and 408p/kg paid to farmers with bigger numbers.
Heifers are a much easier sell and factory agents are more flexible on price. Deals of 408p to 410p/kg are widely available for in-spec animals.
Young bulls are generally priced in line with base quotes, as are cattle processed through premium breed schemes.
Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at local plants totalled 275 head, a drop of 225 week on week
Last week, the average price paid on steers and heifers was 394.54p/kg, a jump of 1.4p/kg on the previous week. Prices paid on U3 steers averaged 406.1p/kg, a rise of 2.9p/kg week on week.
Heifers at the same grade averaged 409.5p/kg, up 0.9p/kg on the previous week.
Imports of Irish cattle for direct slaughter at local plants totalled 275 head, a drop of 225 week on week. No cattle were shipped from NI to Britain.
The weekly kill totalled 10,243, of which 7,393 were prime cattle and 2,640 were cows.
The kill has now exceeded 10,000 head for seven weeks in a row
Demand for cull cows is holding firm. Where younger suckler types with R and U grade conformation are on offer, agents are offering deals of 320p/kg.
Older suckler animals and dairy cows are in demand, but there is less room to negotiate for higher prices.
NI sheep – Lamb prices bounce back
After last week’s price cuts, prices for fat lambs have strengthened. In the marts, factory agents were paying to £139 for heavy lambs and 560p/kg for lighter sorts.
The plants have increased quotes to 560p and 570p/kg, making lambs worth £125.40 at 22kg. However, higher prices of 575p o 585p/kg are on offer.
In Kilrea, 550 lambs sold from 530p to 549p/kg, little change on last week.
Massereene sold 702 lambs in a buoyant trade from 500p to 560p/kg.
Lighter lambs at 22kg sold from £118 to £121 with 23.5kg to £126.50. Heavy lambs at 28kg and 30kg made £132 to £139, with 24kg to 27kg on £126.50 to £130 and a big run at 25kg selling for £125.
Saintfield sold 555 lambs from 505p to 584p/kg, up £2/head. Heavy lambs at 30kg sold to £127, 25kg to £125, 24kg to £124 and 23kg to £122. Store lambs at 19kg sold to £108.
In Rathfriland, 625 lambs averaged 526p/kg, up 6p/kg on last week.
The trade for fat ewes is holding firm. In Massereene, Texels sold to £178, Charollais to £144, Suffolks to £135, Mules to £115 and Blackface to £69/head.
In Saintfield, ewes sold to £160, with the main run from £122 to £154. In Rathfriland, top price was £198, with a good run from £125 to £170.